Bathroom safety – simple rules for avoiding electricity related dangers in the bathrooms

As we all know, water carries electricity very efficiently. When water(or wet surfaces/devices/beings) and electricity mix, the result is very dangerous. Because of this, from the electrical safety point of view, the bathroom is possibly the most dangerous room in the home.  The consequences of an electric shock are far more severe in a bathroom or shower room as our wet skin reduces our body’s resistance. There are special requirements for electrical installations in bathrooms, for example:

Installing Sockets in the Bathrooms

Sockets are not allowed to be installed in bathrooms or the shower rooms (apart from shaver-supply units), unless they can be fitted at least three metres from the bath(bathtub) or shower. Shaver-supply units must be a safe distance from the bath or shower to avoid splashes.

Installing Lights in the Bathrooms

Enclosed ceiling lights are preferable to the pendants (the ones that hang down from the ceiling) light fittings. All the light fittings that are not enclosed, should be out of reach of someone using, or still wet from using, the bath or shower.

The IP rating for the light fittings that are to be mounted in the bathroom has to be high enough for them to be fitted there – see the permissible IP ratings for the bathroom lights. A ceiling-mounted pull-cord switch with the cord made of insulating material is the safest option for a bathroom. Standard wall-mounted light switches are a possible danger because of dampness and wet hands.

Installing Heaters and towel rails in the Bathrooms

Central heating is the safest way of keeping a bathroom warm. But if you have an electric room heater, it must be fixed at a safe distance from the bath or shower – it has to be outside of the reach of the splashing of water.

The electric and gas water heaters in a bathroom must be fixed and permanently wired, unless they are powered by a socket fitted three metres from a bath or shower. Electric heaters should preferably be controlled by a pull cord or a switch outside the bathroom.

Safely Installing Showers

An electric shower must be supplied on its own circuit direct from the consumer unit.

Please Don’t bring any mains-powered portable appliances such as hairdryers, heaters or radios into a bathroom. You could be severely injured or die. You can get a fixed hairdryer with hot air delivered through a flexible plastic pipe installed in bathrooms.

These tips, along with other Electrical Safety Considerations for Home Appliances & Home usage – can be found on the Electrical Safety Council website. Remember: when you want to install the Bathroom Lights, the Bathroom Sockets or the Bathroom Heating Solutions / Hand Dryers, you have to keep in mind these simple rules and even better, consult an electrician.

6 comments

  1. Can we use a small oil filled electric radiator beside a WC in a small cloakroom with WC and handbasin? Or is this dangerous?

  2. Thanks for the info. I find it helpful especially about installing a socket three meters away from the bath. It is really helpful since it is needed too. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  3. Central heating installed in your bathroom would allow you to keep your bathroom cosy and warm. It makes sense to only choose the one fitting to every family members need.

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